NIKKI Van Dijk yesterday secured a spot on next year’s elite Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s World Championship Tour. The Phillip Island surfer won the Pantin Classic Galicia Pro in Spain, the ASP 6-Star event of the year and the last chance to secure a spot on next year’s tour.
Van Dijk claimed her maiden 6-Star win in an exciting final by outclassing fellow Australian Dimity Stoyle, winning with a score of 16.23 to 12.47 – in clean four-five foot surf at the iconic destination of Praia de Pantin. The 18 year-old consistently posted scores in the excellent range including several nine-point-plus scoring waves. Battling the powerful offshore winds, she displayed commitment and radical manoeuvres on her backhand. “I’m so happy I’ve finally done it,” Van Dijk said following her qualification. “I was so nervous about the whole rankings thing and it’s easy to get caught up in all that, so the previous event in France was a bit of a speed bump to my goal. “It kind of made me wake up and realise I could do it without worrying too much and just being myself. “I feel amazing, I’m so thankful for the support I’ve had, like my sisters coming with me.”
After winning the 2012 ASP Women’s World Junior Title, Van Dijk now officially joins the elite ASP Top 17 for next season – realising a long term goal. Having surfed against the world’s best as a wildcard, she will now have the opportunity to surf a whole season amongst top athletes in the sport. “I definitely look up to Steph Gilmore, Carissa Moore, Sally Fitzgibbons and all of them,” Van Dijk said. “I cannot wait to surf against them again. I’ve been a wildcard in a couple of events but this time it’s for real.” Van Dijk is the first ever Victorian female to make the ASP Top 17 and is expected to finish in fifth on the overall Women’s World Rankings (depending on other results). Surfing Victoria CEO and Inverloch resident, Max Wells, was ecstatic with the news. “On behalf of the whole Surfing Victoria family I would like to congratulate Nikki,” Wells said. “She has been an inspiration to everyone and has proven to all young surfers that it is possible to achieve your dreams. “This is a great day for Victorian surfing and I have no doubt that we all will be following her on the World Tour next year.”